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Groundhog Day as Jamaal Lascelles claims Newcastle United ‘proved people wrong’ but have they?

2 months ago
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Jamaal Lascelles has given a big interview after Newcastle effectively rubber-stamped Premier League safety with the 1-0 win at the King Power stadium.

It all feels very much Groundhog Day, as it is exactly a year ago today when Newcastle were declared officially as survivors, after beating Arsenal 2-1 at home.

I can also recall Jamaal Lascelles giving a very similar interview a year or so ago as well, saying very similar things.

The Newcastle Captain says ‘We’ve proved people wrong again…’ but I can’t totally agree with him.

Not many people were saying Newcastle United would definitely be relegated, instead it was a case of predicting yet anaother season-long struggle against relegation and that is what has happened.

Newcastle still haven’t reached 40 points and the clubs fighting relegation can count their luck that both Fulham and Huddersfield have been so woeful, whilst pre-season hot favourites for relegation, Cardiff, appear to be finding their significant lack of quality ensuring they join them.

That is not to say that Jamaal Lascelles and his teammates don’t deserve praise because they very much do, they have done about as well as anybody expected/hoped.

Where I do disagree with the NUFC Captain is with some of: ‘We know we can get better. That doesn’t mean by signing players, it just means by keeping on listening and learning from the manager…When we gain a bit more experience, we’ll get better.’

Newcastle very much DO need to sign players. Workrate and team ethic will only get you so far.

If Miguel Almiron hadn’t been bought, would Newcastle have 38 points and reached safety by now? I don’t think so. He has helped the team look much more of a threat and in his eight starts NUFC have picked up 13 points, in the previous 26 games they picked up only 25 points.

Only by signing players (and keeping the manager, which are kind of linked…) will Newcastle not be guaranteed yet another relegation fight next season. For starters, as it stands the club’s most influential player (Rondon) this season with more goals and more assists than any other player, won’t even be here next season. Which effectively means moving into the summer Newcastle would already be weaker than this current relegation fighting team, unless Mike Ashley changes is ways.

A lot of things go into making a successful and progressive team/club, unity and commitment are key components but so is the desire to improve the quality of the team as well.

You also can’t continue to have it always. Is this a team of plucky underdogs who deserve praise for staying up and desperately need better quality players to be added, or is it a squad of players who should be doing better without needing those better players added?

Jamaal Lascelles talking to the Shields Gazette:

“We’ve proved people wrong again…

“Another season where we have been written off but we have proved people wrong.

“Pundits seem to like going against Newcastle, saying ‘oh, they’re not good enough’ or ‘they haven’t spent the money’, but we have proved you don’t need to spend the money if you have got a good group of players in place.

“Fulham went out and spent I don’t know how much money and they have gone down.

“It’s about the manager, it’s about the fans and the support, and it’s about the players and how much they want it.

“We’ve got all three of those things in place, and when you combine them, you get a good team.

“It doesn’t matter about how much the price tag is for one player, it’s about the team and the city being as one. That’s why I think we’re so powerful as a club.

“I would like to finish a bit higher and get a few more wins,I don’t want to be happy just being safe.

“But I’m proud of what we’ve done. From me becoming captain and lifting a trophy to last season finishing 10th, and hopefully this year ending up somewhere like that, it’s very special.

“A lot of people will be looking at it and thinking ‘how are they doing that?’ but like I said, it’s a combination of our work ethic, the manager and Newcastle as a city coming together. It’s really pleasing.

“Everything that goes on is through the manager and we can only thank him for what he’s done for us.

“Since he’s been here, everything’s been positive and on the rise. As players, he’s been massive for us.

“We know we can get better. That doesn’t mean by signing players, it just means by keeping on listening and learning from the manager.

“We’re still getting to know the league really, not that many players have played that much Premier League football. When we gain a bit more experience, we’ll get better.

“We still need to get a bit more savvy and streetwise on the pitch. There have been some games we’ve lost through fine margins and it hasn’t been because of a lack of quality or work ethic.

“If we’re winning, it’s maybe been because we haven’t got the ball in the corner or committed a little foul at a crucial moment.

“When we’ve got a bit more experience of the Premier League, I think that will be a big difference.

“We knew it was going to be a really tough game. Leicester have got a lot of experience, and a lot of young flair players in their team who know what they’re doing.

“They’ve got a good manager, but we had a game plan that we’d worked on all week in training, and I think we really frustrated them. I think the manager will be over the moon.

Everyone’s put in a real shift. The work rate from everyone was phenomenal, midfielders winning second balls, attackers running in behind, defenders battling with their players up front.

“Martin (Dubravka) came up with the goods when he was called upon, it was everyone.

“We’d been working hard in training, and with this team, whenever we need something, we always give 110%. We definitely need to make sure we offer that because in games like that, it pays off.

“It says a lot about the character in the dressing room. We knew it was going to be difficult, but we believed in ourselves and kept on going.

“Ayo came through with some quality, and after that it was about holding on for the win. It takes us to 38 points.

“A lot of people will say we’re safe now, and we probably are, but we still have to take care of business, stay fresh and keep going.”

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